The concept behind Splish Splash is exactly what I do with Cover Me except different. Where the job of covers is to get you to pick up a book and part with some coin, splash pages have a similar but slightly different job. They’re your doorway into the story. It’s where you learn something about the story that makes you want to continue, or that piques your interest, or that just pulls you immediately into the story. And there are lots of ways of doing this. I’m of the opinion that splash pages have fallen on hard times lately (and I’ll be getting to that), so let’s start with how the splash page worked in the old days.
I first encountered the term splash page in the letter col of The Flash where the following exchange occurred: Dear Editor, In the story “Danger in the Air”, I noticed that when the Trickster ran off the cliff and continued running on air, the Flash was unable to chase him because of his inability to run on air. Yet in the next story – “The Man Who Claimed the Earth”- on the very first page you show the villain perched atop the Earth with the Flash running through the air toward the North Pole. To which editor Julie Schwartz replied: The introductory page which portrayed the Flash scooting off the Earth in order to come to grips with the villain is known in the trade as a symbolic splash page. The splash is a “trailer” for the story that follows – and usually depicts an exciting or suspenseful moment that occurs in the story. However, as a change of pace, we occasionally use a symbolic splash – which is representative of the overall mood or subject of the story, and does not depict an actuations scene. Accordingly, the Flash’s running on air in this particular instance was symbolic of his pursuit of the villain in the story. – Editor
So there you have it straight from the horses mouth and the man who began my schooling on cartooning. In forthcoming Splash Splash posts, we’ll look at how splash pages can do their job, and also post some just beacuse they’re so darn cool. Below is a bonus example of a Dr. Strange symbolic splash.